Bone drugs don’t lower breast cancer risk

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


DRUGS known as bisphosphonates, commonly prescribed to treat the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, don’t appear to reduce the risk of breast cancer as previously thought, new research finds.

“We found that postmenopausal women who took a bisphosphonate for three or four years did not have a decreased risk in breast cancer,” said study author Trisha Hue, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, according to Health Day News.

When prior observational studies noted links between the drugs’ use and lower breast cancer risk in, experts assumed the drugs deserved the credit. However, based on the new findings, Hue suspects that low estrogen levels may have been the risk-reducer.

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“Women who get bisphosphonates have a low bone mass density,” she said. “If you have low bone mass density, you probably have low estrogen.” This is because the hormone, which is depleted after menopause, helps regulate bone mass and strength. Many types of breast cancer need estrogen to grow, she said.

The study is published Aug. 11 in Jama Internal Medicine.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 13, 2014.

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